My name is Katherine and I am a mum to 2 beautiful girls. I knew very little about miscarriage at that time; pregnancy was very innocent and whilst I knew about miscarriage, it was something that happened to other people. I didn’t know anyone that had openly spoken about it and in hindsight, I was very naive.
My third pregnancy started just as innocently. I had started spotting and told the nurse at my antenatal appointment, however she didn’t seem overly concerned. I would have thought if miscarriage was on the cards they would have done an immediate scan. After all, it is a big deal if your child has died isn’t it? She just booked me in for my next appointment and didn’t speak much of the spotting. In hindsight it was likely because nothing could be done anyway.
Then came the day where it was bright blood so I took myself to hospital. They were quite dismissive and did some bloods. The results were, ‘You are very much pregnant’. I wasn’t convinced. They hadn’t even scanned me. Still uneasy I went back the following day and insisted on a scan. I went on my own and after waiting for ages I was finally taken in. The sonographer had a look and after some time, turned the screen and said, ‘I’ll show you what I’m looking at. This the fetus, but there is no heartbeat.’
She wiped off the gel and put tissues on the bed telling me someone would take me to another room and the doctor will confirm. I was wheeled through the clinical corridors to a closed off ward, absolutely not a soul around for the hour while I waited for the doctor. I felt emotions I had never experienced. The doctor finally came in and confirmed and wanted to book me into the clinic later in the week to discuss ‘natural or surgical’ removal. I was told it would be like a heavy period. With that, he left and I walked out on my own – lost and bewildered.
The following day in the space of 20 minutes I bled in the car like a slaughtered animal. So off I went to hospital where I shortly thereafter collapsed. Finally someone was listening and they were going to do something. I had a D&C and iron infusion before I went home numb the following day. Unusually they decided to test the baby and I would get my results in a few weeks.
My second loss was just as awful but it started the minute I knew I was pregnant. The fear set in and I was constantly checking in the toilet. I didn’t have to wait long. At 6.5 weeks this one was lost also, another D&C but this one wasn’t tested.
By my next pregnancy, I was beside myself. I almost had tissue burn from wiping myself and for the first time in my life I was inspecting toilet paper for even a shred of spotting. It was exhausting and I became obsessive, almost like it wasn’t a matter of if rather a matter of when. It was almost a relief when I did start to spot because the anticipation was over and now I could deal with it. So another D&C at 10 weeks was done and this one was sent off for testing. I found that GPs weren’t overly interested in chasing the results. One had said to me, ‘It’s over Katherine, you need to move on.’ I didn’t see that GP again.
I did find out that one was Trisomy 15 and one was Turners Syndrome, yet no-one offered me genetic counselling. My husband and I were both tested but all was fine so it was put down to ageing eggs (late thirties). My forth loss was earlier and I passed it at home.
2.5 years after my first loss I decided to contact the lab where the testing was done. It was never offered as an option to have the ‘products of conception’ returned to me. At the time, I almost felt as if I had no right, that this wasn’t a real pregnancy. Over time however, I realised that they did matter – these were 2 girls that had a future lost. I am in the process of getting what remains I can back but I do feel this should be something that is routinely offered if you choose. I also strongly believe GPs can be better educated on dealing with post-miscarriage emotions.